Sunday, August 25, 2013

The Solo Workout

I had a fairly mild week, between a fast walk on Monday, a decent run on Wednesday and a tough run on Saturday, I haven't done much. My bike ride was called off today and my friend who I also work out with is going to be unavailable for a week (blech), so workouts will be much more challenging and a lot less fun... Remember, I am a social athlete! Right about now, I wish I knew where I lost my iPod even though I do not like working out with music.

I am a believer in mind over matter and this past week I let matter take over and so now I have a choice to make... let things continue to be complicated or be intentional with everything I do.

Quotes move me, motivate me and build me up. There are a number of quotes that I draw from and I plan to use this week to move me along:
"I am the master of my fate,
I am the captain of my soul." 
It is probably no secret that this quote from Invictus has empowered me to take control when faced with difficult situations. It was shared with me at the perfect time in my life, and for that I am thankful. This is one of the quotes that is going to help push me through my solo workout week. If I can draw on my ability to master my workouts that will be a gift.
"Life happens outside of your comfort zone."
One of the best gifts I was given in the summer of 2012, was learning how to do things that scare me. I went zip lining, learned to shoot guns, and in general did things that were totally uncomfortable. I challenged everything in my being intentionally. This summer things have been challenged less intentionally but I have the best people to face those challenges with!!! I said to a friend, just today, that when thing become stagnant I get bored and walk away. My friend and I try to mix up our workouts for that reason exactly. As a matter of fact, since I began riding with Sue, we have ridden a new route every single week. I suppose working out alone is going to take me back to being outside of my comfort zone. I'll simply view it as a new challenge every time I workout.

On a very different note, I am fairly lucky to be a person who over shares. And by doing so, I take myself out of my comfort zone all the time. The people who embrace that and go on that journey with me, are the people who, after years of knowing each other, our relationships are still growing. Those friends truly give me the most amazing gift. Again, very thankful...
"Live on and be yourself."
"Strip away the fear, underneath it's all the same love." 
I'm officially in love with Macklemore, with that being said, these two quotes are from his very powerful song 'Same Love'! Now, I can pull quotes out of a larger context and make those quotes meaningful to serve a different purpose. First, I have an affinity for the song because of its' true meaning but I also extract those two quotes because it is so important to be yourself. For me, being myself is acknowledging that the solo workout is going to be hard. Here's the thing... I used to love running so much that a solo run was actually fun, however my motivations have shifted (thankfully) and now I have a fear of the solo workout... I am literally going to have to rip the band aid off and do it! The fear of going alone is rooted in so much more than I can talk about here...
"A friend is someone who gives you total freedom to be yourself."
Jim Morrison said that... And the fact of the matter is we very rarely find people in our lives who allow us to be 100% ourselves. I'm lucky, I have that kind of friend. I have a couple actually but one of them was presented to me through my athleticism and another one of them has been there every step of the way through my journey to becoming an athlete. I can't deny that, and I won't let that be taken away from me. I remember when I ran my first ever 11 miler up in Bowling Green... Having Chris along for that ride was an amazing gift and she is one of those people who I would say has nurtured my whole person, while supporting my athleticism.

Anyway, all of this to say I don't want to do solo workouts, but I will. I'm thankful for the gift of friends that my athleticism has given me, especially those who do give me total freedom to be myself, and allow me to face my fears and embrace every tear I shed while stepping outside of my comfort zone.

So here is to being intentional and enjoying the solo workout.

Although, I will be even more thankful when my workout buddy is available again!!!

Sunday, August 18, 2013

The Social Athlete

I should probably change the name of my blog at this point. The fact is that I have completed some extremely significant events which in my mind qualifies me as an athlete. I mean, I moved 70.3 self propelled miles in one day this summer; I may or may not ever do it again but I will keep running and cycling and swimming!!!

I have also been faced by some adversity this summer. Nothing too bad, but enough to throw me off balance for a bit. As I reflect on the gifts that my athleticism has given me, I continue to come back to the same things: better health, self confidence, feeling alive and friends.

Better Health:

Over the past several years I have lost over 100 pounds. I still have some more to lose but every day I am closer to my goal. Let me just post a couple of pictures to illustrate the changes, you will be shocked!!! I still am when I look at these pictures next to one another. I think these will tell the story of better health in a more meaningful way than any words I can say:

Before
Now


Self Confidence

I now have the confidence to be who I am no matter the situation. I do believe, in part, I can thank my friends for this, after all Jim Morison said "A friend is someone who gives you total freedom to be yourself..." but I wouldn't have made some of the friends I have, had it not been for my athleticism. I mean, I spend up to 5 days a week with my closest friend on the trail, and off for that matter... But crossing finish lines is proof that I can do anything. Take that Half Iron Man for instance; I did the work and it paid off. Every time I strive for something AND complete it, I am one step closer to accomplishing another goal.

Feeling Alive

By having the ability to move my body for several hours a day, I now wake up with the energy to face the world, regardless of the tough situation I find myself in. Weird health issues? Bring it... Tough days at work? Manageable... Random 65 mile bike rides? No problem... Love? Hard but worth it... Trying something outside of my comfort zone? The best thing...

Friends

All of these items listed above are made possible by my friends. If you got to spend a lot of your time with your best friend, wouldn't you? Basically, I am at the point that I get the benefits of better health and confidence from my athleticism but more because of my friends. I show up at 5:30 in the morning not because I get to run 3 miles but because I get to spend time with VIPs in my world. If you are my friend you know that you are a very important person to me!!!

I honestly recognize that I am a social athlete. Really, I should probably rename my blog to the social athlete because at the end of the day, the best finish lines are those that I cross with my friends right by my side. It is a true testament to a friendship/relationship when someone is willing to be present with you through one of the most physically and mentally challenging obstacles! Sure, they may tell you to 'shut the eff up' during the event, but at the end of the day they will give you a hug and be thankful to have shared that experience with you as well...

This all coming off of an unplanned 65 mile bike ride with one of my closest friends... Would that ride have happened had I been alone? No way... Oh and guess what, we still like each other (even though I knocked her off her bike today). Yep, I think I'm a social athlete!!! 

Sunday, August 11, 2013

The GREAT DNF

This morning, I woke up at 5:00 am to go and participate in a relay triathlon with Tara and Sue. This was the day that Tara was swimming her big swim! I was more excited than Tara and was looking forward to sharing this experience with her. On our drive up to Alum Creek I was lamenting about the fact that there wasn't any good music on the radio. As we were pulling into the park, my guilty pleasure came on the radio and I made the declaration that this was going to be a great race!

My guilty pleasure:


We stood in line, set up the transition area and sent Tara off on her swim. She was a champ and had a great swim!!! She ran into the transition area at which point I hopped on my bike and took off for my 26 mile bike ride. I was following the road markers and at a certain point felt in my gut that I was off course. I looked at my watch and was about 17 miles or so into the ride. Then I looked again at about 20 miles and realized I was still heading away from the park. I turned the navigation on, on my watch and decided I would follow the GPS back to the start... And then I ran into road markers again and decided to follow those instead. Well that was the next mistake...

After resetting my navigation again, I ran into a police officer (this was at about mile 35 or so) and he gave me directions back to Alum Creek. And away I went... During this ride, all I could think about is that I didn't have my phone and I was disappointing my team. Sue was on the mind because she still had a 10k to run when I got back to the transition area. This was weighing on me very heavily when the big white SUV appeared. He pulled up next to me, asked me if I was part of the triathlon (yes) and I told him I wanted to get to the beach the quickest way possible. He told me he would escort me in, and that is exactly what he did. He drove in front of me for the remainder of the race.

When I got to the beach, I saw my friend Chris standing there with Sue and Andrew... The were holding the glorious sun at which point I said 'expletive' the sun... (I don't remember this but they all confirmed that I said it). I rode up to the nice guy in the SUV, said thank you and promptly fell over while trying to unclip from my bike. I was splayed out on the ground bleeding when Sue walked up to me, helped me up, took my bike and told me that we were at the end. I ruined her run...

I talked to the race director and Jody and Tara appeared (they were out in their car searching for me). The race director was kind and caring and for that I am extremely thankful. I feel as though the staff at Greenswell are truly swell!!! They made me feel good about the ride and the race even though we were not going to finish the entire race. They welcomed me back and congratulated us for a good effort. They really run some impressive events and are friendly to all participants!!!

Anyway, I cried, I apologized to Sue and Tara for taking away the completion of this great event and then I went and chowed down. After all, I ended up with 47 miles under my belt for that 26 mile bike ride.

The day was not a total bust though. I learned something very valuable from today, and that is you really have to trust your gut.

Anyway, that is the story of the great DNF... I'm so sorry to my team mates that the race ended early... Tara, great job on your swim and Sue, thanks for being there as always!!! I look forward to next year when we kick this triathlon's butt!!!

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Where's the Black Cloud

I have a lot to be thankful for in life. As it is important to let your friends/family know when you are thinking about them and appreciate them, I also think it is important to identify the things you are thankful for in your life to help propel you forward. I am going to do just that! I am going to jot down some things that I am thankful for. Read on if you wish:
  • In the last 30 days I have ridden 150 mile and have logged 40 miles running. The beauty of keeping a training log is that you can look back and see what you have accomplished. I really wish I was better at logging my swimming, but if it isn't on my watch, it simply doesn't get logged. The good news is that the black cloud hanging over my athletic pursuits is starting to lift... 
  • Although this blog is primarily about my athletic pursuits, I like to think I am a fairly well rounded person. I like to be mobile and active but I also like live music, random unplanned days with friends, talking about the topics that you are never supposed to discuss with people... Basically, no activity is off limits for me! Over the past several weeks I have been to fairs, festivals, ice cream shops (a lot of them actually), friends porches, the zoo, out to dinner, had friends over for dinner, gone for walks. In the coming weeks I will go camping, do a triathlon, a friend may come and visit, log more miles on the bike, spend more mornings seeking the best breakfast destination for bacon. I just need to remember to order bacon. 
  • My pants are falling off me. In other words, I have lost 12 lbs over the past several weeks.
  • I love my dog dearly!!! As a matter of fact he is laying here with his head on my lap. He is somewhat sad because I did get four new pets this weekend. Hermit crabs are fun! I went to the fair with Lauri the other night, we were playing the ping pong ball game, you know the one, throw a ping pong ball in a fish bowl, win a fish, except this game was win a hermit crab. One of our balls landed in a bowl and now I am the proud owner of Crabby, Hermi, MS and Punk. Sue helped me pick out shells and the three additional crabs today! The crabitat is set up and they are all settling into their new home.
  • I ran my first 5 plus mile run since the half iron man yesterday. It was hard but we did it! I wanted to quit but Sue wouldn't let me. I even made it up the effing hill!
  • A couple of years ago, I wrote a blog post about a theory that states you are a combination of the five people you spend the most time with. I really appreciated the theory at the time because it made me recognize that I had some pretty awesome people in my life. In recent weeks I have reacquainted myself with this theory and took another look around to again recognize that I have some very special people who I spend my time with; they know who they are... I would like to say that I am extremely happy that I get to share my experiences (both good and bad) with these people. 
I encourage everyone to take a moment to identify what you are thankful for, or simply let someone know you care! I hope all the people who are so special to me know that they are much appreciated. You are all the reason the black cloud is disappearing.